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'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Insight Scholarship

Funded by
2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Dec 13, 2023
Winners Announced
Jan 13, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
U.S. citizen
3.0 or higher
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate

As college becomes increasingly expensive, the financial burdens of pursuing higher education have become significant or even insurmountable for the average student.

Financial status should not stand in the way of furthering one’s education or pursuing professional dreams, yet many middle and low-income students today have to choose between pushing off their goals or taking on high levels of debt.

This scholarship seeks to support high school seniors with a deep appreciation for the narratives that shape our society.

Any high school senior or undergraduate who is a U.S. citizen with at least a 3.0 GPA may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us what the phrase ‘Once upon a time in Hollywood’ sparks in you.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published September 12, 2023
Essay Topic

What does the phrase 'Once upon a time in Hollywood' spark in you? This could be an analysis of Hollywood's role in shaping societal narratives, a personal reflection on its influence in your life, or a fictional narrative grounded in the vibrant era that the phrase hints at. 

400–500 words

Winning Applications

Sienna Arntsen
Saint Joseph Hill AcademyStaten Island, NY
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," at its heart, is more than just a portrait of the nostalgic look of 1960s Hollywood. I believe that it's an exploration of relationships and the types of bonds that are not defined by societal classes or professional titles but by trust, understanding, and shared experiences. The dynamic between Rick Dalton, an actor at the beginning of the movie on the decline in his career, and Cliff Booth, his dedicated stunt double serves as the heartbeat of the film. Their relationship isn't predicated on the bright lights or the movie sets. Instead, it's grounded in genuine affection, mutual respect, and a shared history of navigating Hollywood. Drawing parallels from this, my life too has been a compilation of relationships and shared experiences. While my educational pursuits at institutions like Saint Joseph Hill Academy, USC, Duke, and UCLA have laid the foundation for my academic and professional aspirations, it's the relationships I've forged along the way that have given my journey depth and meaning. Rick and Cliff treat each other as equals and their dynamic stands out as refreshingly genuine. In many ways, the foundation of their relationship is built on mutual respect and their unwavering commitment to each other's well-being. Whether it's Rick's evident vulnerabilities or Cliff's moments of introspection, they offer each other a shoulder, serving as each other's anchor in the unpredictable tide of Hollywood. In times of adversity, it isn’t the glitz or accolades that pull one through but the genuine connections and friendships forged along the way. I interned at Next Wind Recovery, an outpatient drug rehabilitation center in New Jersey. The ways I witnessed individuals supported one another reminded me of Rick and Cliff's in a way. Recovery is a deeply personal journey, yet it's the shared experiences, the silent camaraderie, and the unwavering support of others that often lighten its weight. Just as Cliff was there to pull Rick out of his moments of self-doubt, individuals in recovery found solace in the collective strength of their community. The parallel between these two worlds reinforced my belief in the power of genuine human connections. In both settings, it's the bonds of true friendship and understanding that emerge as the real heroes, guiding individuals through their most trying times. Whether we find ourselves under the dazzling lights of Hollywood or during real-world challenges, the stories we cherish the most are those punctuated by genuine relationships, shared adventures, and the unspoken understanding that we're all in this together. As I continue on my journey, I take with me not just academic knowledge or professional experiences, but a deep appreciation for the Cliffs in my life who've stood by me, sharing both the limelight and the shadows.
Maya Mcinnis
Woodlawn High SchoolBaton Rouge, LA
"Once upon a time in Hollywood" to me means a deeper meaning than expected from most people. When I was little, I always thought that Hollywood was amazing, that everything was perfect and nothing bad happened. But, as I'm getting older, I can see that Hollywood isn't always good and has almost always had so,e type of problem with many people. Hollywood is a crazy place, it's amazing and devastating all at the same time. Hollywood to me has always been a little rough, from the very beginning, even before my own parents were born, there were bad things happening that tend to be put out there because it's the "It place to be." "Once upon a time in Hollywood" to me means, at the very start of everything, things were pretty good and nothing was bad. As you can imagine, over the years there have many issues in the area of Hollywood with people with big names such as O.J Simpson, Olive Thomas, and Britney Spears who we still have issues with today. Things in Hollywood aren't great, there are too many scandals and problems with celebrities and fans that cause some of these problems. Hollywood used to be decent, it used to be an okay place to be. For a while, there weren't as many problems, Hollywood didn't have dangerous things going on at first before it became the "place to be." Now, we can see at least one new scandal in Hollywood happening every week. It's almost rare for anything not to happen for a while. I personally think it's sad how unsettling Hollywood can be, it's not always bad but terrible things usually happen a lot there. "Once upon in Hollywood, there were wonderful things, everything was good in 1911 when it was first founded. Now, we can see murders, overdoses, and celebrities being treated horrendously. There was a Golden Era of Hollywood, it was between the years of 1927 and 1969, the film industry was amazing and things were terrific. Once upon a time, Hollywood was great, things were more than amazing and everything was decent and not so bad. Things have changed and I don't like it, it's going downhill fast and it'll stay like that for a long time. The Golden Era was for a while but I don't think we'll see anything like that again. Hollywood was once a grate place, that's no longer the case and it breaks my heart.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 13, 2023. Winners will be announced on Jan 13, 2024.

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